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Verdi: Aida (2 DVD)

Violeta Urmana    DVD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 22.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Verdi: Aida (2 DVD) + Mozart: The Magic Flute (Metropolitan Opera) + Verdi: Otello (Metropolitan Opera)
Price For All Three: CDN$ 42.99

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Product Description

From the Contributor

The DVD features a bonus feature of backstage at the Met with Johan Botha, Dolora Zajick, Violeta Urmana, Alexei Ratmansky and MET supernumeraries, with Host Renee Fleming!

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Below expectation Jan. 8 2014
By Soolim
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Not impressed by Violeta performance. Looking for other soprano as Aida. Video editing is less than desirable. This will only collect dust in my bookshelf.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind-blowing Aug. 22 2010
Format:Blu-ray
La Scala need not play second fiddle to the Met. This is a production that put goose bumps the size of marbles on my arms. I have three versions of this magnificent work on DVD and this is the absolute best.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars  37 reviews
52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Disappointing May 12 2009
By Barry J. James - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I was looking for a modern replacement of my old Met Opera DVD of Aida and, as someone who likes the spectacle of Grand Opera, decided to buy this Franco Zeffirelli directed version from La Scala. I noted that a number of the reviewers had mentioned the superimposed images and fade-ins and fade-outs employed by the director and how much it had annoyed them. However, I thought they were probably being too subjective and I couldn't imagine that a video director would have been given so much of a free hand that it could detract from Zeffirelli's production. How wrong I was! In the triumphal march in Act 2 the stage is full of people, the costumes are opulent, the props are magnificent, the orchestra under Chailly is building up to a climax and yet Patrizia Carmine thinks that she can improve on all of this by adding dissolves through drapes and superimposing close-ups of trumpets; not just once, but again and again.
There is so much to like about this production and I no doubt will watch it occasionally, but it could have been so much better without the interference of the video director. I would go so far as to suggest that all might not be lost and the DVD could possibly be re-released without all the offensive and unnecessary additions. How novel that might be, a non-directors cut of the opera.
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Feb. 11 2009
By Opera Fan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
This potentially wonderful production has been ruined by inappropiate zooming, transitions, panning, close-ups of performers and even horns. The video editing is dreadful and distracts from the beauty of the performers and the performance. This DVD could be used in a course for videographers and producers as an example of "How not to do it".
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Everything you want from a traditional Aida Aug. 5 2011
By Keris Nine - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray
Although there is an intimate and tragic love story at its heart, Aida is set against the exotic background of the Egypt of the Pharaohs, and is full of patriotic, nationalistic sentiments, as the Egyptian army prepare to go to war to fight off a revolt by the Ethiopians. It's a perfect subject, in other words, for Verdi, and it was undoubtedly the nature of the storyline, much more than any commission for the new opera house in Cairo (which he repeatedly refused) or the grand occasion of the opening of the Suez Canal, that encouraged him to return to opera composition in 1871, and he would return in style with a magnificent work.

Considering its origins and its setting - whether it was composed for a grand occasion or not - Verdi's Aida is appropriately stately in its expressions of nationalistic pride and identity, with extravagant marches, battle hymns, ceremonial processions and dances. There's no point in doing Aida in a minimalist style, as Robert Wilson has done in the past (although it's certainly interesting to see something different attempted) - this is an opera that just calls out for a grand scale production. If you haven't got a stage the size of the Arena di Verona, and a director like Franco Zeffirelli to fill it, the nearest grand, traditionally staged Aida you are going to find is this Sonja Frisell production - now over twenty years old - for the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

It's a big production in every respect - and yes, I include the size of the singers in this - with towering temples, the stage filled with chorus, troops, dancers and well-tanned, bare-chested slaves, even horses and chariots, all arranged in grand ceremonial processions and formations. It's unfortunately a little too static - an impressive spectacle even if it is a little bit kitsch, but not much thought has been put into the interaction between the main players. They just walk on in most cases, sing their part, and walk back off again. But, this is what you expect of an Aida production - particularly a traditional one at the Met - and really, you'd feel somewhat short-changed if it didn't have all the other bells and whistles (and trumpets).

You won't feel short-changed by the singers here either. Johan Botha is one of the finest tenors in the world, a great Wagnerian heldentenor, which serves him in good stead for this particular Verdi opera. I don't know about his acting ability - there's not much required here of Ramadès - but he has an ability to fill his roles with life, principally through the wonderful warmth of tone of his voice. Violeta Urmana is the Verdian soprano of choice at the moment, and she is fine singing the role of Aida, if again there are not any real acting demands placed on her. Dolora Zajick is an experienced Amneris and sings the role well, but does unfortunately look constipated when singing (sorry, but she does). The final duet notwithstanding, Act IV of Aida belongs to Amneris however, Verdi giving her character real depth and human passion, and Dolora Zajick launches into it with relish, making perhaps the strongest impression on the whole production, which is a little lacking in energy elsewhere.

Recorded live for worldwide broadcast in 2009 for the Met's Live in HD programme, the production looks fantastic in High Definition, is colourful and well-lit. The audio mixes are in PCM Stereo and DTS HD-Master Audio 5.1 and, allowing for one or two minor sound issues with the live mix which is a little bit echoing in places, they both sound fine, the surround in particular dispersing the choral singing well. Extras on the BD include edited-down interviews (I'd have been happy to listen to much more of this) conducted by Renée Fleming with the cast and extras.
30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very distracting Video Direction!!! Nov. 18 2008
By Allan Vanegas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Beautiful Aida production by Zefferelli at La Scala Milan. This production is a little over done but beautifully set. The singers are amazing except that I found Alagna's infamous aria "Dolce Aida" to be sung in an almost forced and yelling voice. So far, I have just watched the Acts 1&2 first DVD, and so far I can tell you that you will be dissapointed by the anoying fading of pictures throught the video. This is done in a manner that you want to scream and say stop doing that!!!Just focus on the characters and lets enjoy the performance in a way that a seating patron there was enjoying it. By, the way the ballet at the end of Act 2 was very sexy and beautifully danced. 4 stars for the singing 5 stars for the ballet and 5 star for the sets and costumes. 0 star for the video direction.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor sound in this Aida Dec 6 2011
By R. Kreutzer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
I have over 100 opera and ballet DVD/BR's that I watch on a projected screen about 7' 8" wide and listen through a 7.1 loudspeaker setup where the left and right speakers are about 9' 6" apart. The room has sound treatments. The goal is to make the viewing experience as if I was there in a middle seat in one of the front rows.

My collection includes the 1989 Aida from the Met with Domingo and Millo as well as a 2004 open air performance from St. Margarethen, Austria with Suemegi and Andreev.
I thought it was time to replace them with the new Met performance.

This is essentially the same performance as in 1989, same stage setup, costumes and props.
Picture is, of course, a lot better, no complaints here.
Sound is another story.
Soundstage of the DTS 5.1 MA track is not much wider than stereo, just the applause comes also from the sides and not only the front. Orchestra and chorus are o.k., just not very wide.
The voices suffer from variability of the loudness, depending in which direction the principals are singing. At the beginning, it is rather static, everybody faces the front and variability is limited. But as the action picks up, it gets worse. Amonasro (Guelfi) moves his head all the time and he sounds the worst. But it affects pretty much everybody.
The stage microphones are in 4 pairs at the front of the stage, aiming pretty low, I guess to catch the sound when the action is in the back of the stage and the chorus. But for the principals, no good. A dozen names given for the audio, Mix Ken Hahn (from Merry Widow and La Traviata fame).
For comparison, I inserted the 1989 DVD (4:3) of the Met and pretty much the same sound, (stereo only). Soundstage just as wide as the BR, orchestra and chorus o.k., voices just as variable. Looks like even the same microphones are used in the same positions. In over 20 years no change. Somebody must have kept detailed records in 1989 and they still follow them today.
Then I loaded the 2004 St. Margarethen DVD. Screen is 16:9, the singers carry body mics.
Picture is, of course, not as good, particularly in the wide stage shots. The closer shots are ok.
Sound is DTS 5.1 and gives quite a wide soundstage, at least 2 feet past the corner speaker.
Orchestra is a bit thin, but the voices are solid as a rock and the singing is quite o.k. The acting here is the best of these 3 performances, with Cornelia Helfricht being by far the best Amneris.
So I don't consider this Aida a good replacement and cannot recommend it. It's time for the Met to get some body microphones.
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